A while ago I promised something tasty for the blog. That was before I moved. Apologies for the delay, and the pictures of my less than tasty books and furniture. I hope what follows makes up for it.
This started out as a recipe “inside out chocolate chip cookies” in my mother’s Betty Crocker Cookie cookbook. I used the book as a reference in multiple baking ventures growing up, with varying results.
On a whim I made inside out chocolate chip cookies for a school event in 2001/eighth grade. By this point, I could make cookies. Classmates loved them, and as this was eighth grade and anything that earned classmates’ love was something to hang onto, I continued to make them when an occasion arose. Again, with varying results, but as years went on successful batches increased.
Through high school I experimented with my own tweaks. I learned other extracts existed besides vanilla, and seized on peppermint, a favorite flavor, as variant.
The original recipe calls only for white chocolate chips, but once I ran low on cocoa powder and added some semisweet chocolate chips to make up for it.
(That was for a school play’s opening night. The cookies went over very well. One castmate said I’d make a great mom one day. Of course I kept on baking them.)
At some point, probably in college, I was doing my own grocery shopping and discovered dark cocoa powder. For me, using it was a no-brainer.
Beyond college, long in the habit of baking these with all butter or margarine and no shortening, I realized that Betty Crocker included the shortening for a reason. The reason being fudgy, non-crumbly texture.
I also played with the sugar amounts over the years, eventually acknowledging that they do make a difference and settling for an ideal proportion.
A few Christmases ago, my then-to-be-soon-sister-in-law gave me a recipe album, and I finally recorded what I now consider my signature cookie recipe.
In the album, which is hiding in a storage tub somewhere even though I referred to it less than a week before the move (yeah), I called these “Friendmakers.” “Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies”, though, is more likely to get page views.
Call them what you like. Adapt to your taste. Shift ingredients and steps as you have to, based on what’s in your cupboard or at the store: I did so plenty of times, living abroad, where brown sugar gets complicated and I didn’t own working beaters. (Chocolate chips are also rare in the UK: when I moved there for grad school, I brought a few bags along. Be prepared to break up a bar if you live outside the US.)
This is recorded from memory. Minor edits may be made as necessary. Pictures are below.
Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies (“Friendmakers”)
Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (or regular, if you’re one of those people)
Not Dry Ingredients:
¾ cup butter (or margarine, if you must)
½ cup shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (NOT demarrara, but muscavado in a pinch)
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp peppermint extract (optional: leave out, or try orange or almond for a variation. Plain mint extract is also acceptable.)
1 tsp vanilla extract (Softens the stronger flavors)
4-6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, to taste (1/4-1/2 pckg)
6-8 oz white chocolate chips (1/2-3/4s pckg)
(Note: it’s tempting to add more, but dough will only hold so many chocolate chips. If preferred, do shift proportion in favor of semi-sweet.)
1. Preheat oven to 350F/176.666C. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. I don’t see a practical reason for this, as ingredients don’t need sifting as they’d do for cake or muffins, but it will make your life easier and probably gets them incorporated thoroughly.
2. Cream butter, shortening, sugars, eggs and extracts until smooth. If you’re into eating bits of the butter and sugar mixture, cream that first and then add the eggs. Wash your hands.
3. Slowly add dry ingredients and continue to mix until incorporated, using beaters to scrape sides of the bowl. I say “slowly”, because splattered cocoa powder is a bitch to clean off the side of a white fridge.
(Related Note: The school play mentioned above took place post-nuclear apocalypse. The make-up notes in our script suggested cocoa powder in lieu of mud for actors allergic to the latter. Seriously, be careful with this stuff.)
4. Stir in chocolate chips. Eat strays. Wash your hands.
5. Drop dough on cookie sheets by rounded tablespoon or teaspoonfuls, leaving at least an inch of space for spread. Use a fancy cookie scoop if you own one, otherwise go slowly with your spoon and knife. Wash your hands.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Ideally, allow to cool on cooling rack. Wash your hands.
If you’re not preparing for public consumption, you can be a little more lax about making perfect circles of dough and/or washing your hands.
These pictures are from Memorial Day weekend. This batch was for my sister’s high school graduation party, so public consumption was a big factor.
Dry ingredients assemble. The chicken is a salt-shaker. My family has kind of a sentimentally driven chicken-themed table accessory thing going on.
White dry ingredients combined, with attempt at visual interest by measuring cup.
If I had a picture of the cocoa powder mixed with the white ingredients, maybe I’d use the word “integration.”
One of those butter sticks is getting cut in half, as is the shortening block. Again, the shortening is less expendable than we’d like.
Oh yeah, and it’s a good idea to soften the butter and shortening first. Butter clumps are no fun to clean up either.
Note, no eggs or extract.
I like to add them after.
I question my bowl choice here. The color works for Memorial Day but really washes the dough out.
I add the dry mixture in three or four batches, and beat carefully between adds.
It’s always tempting not to scrape the bowl too well.
Especially when you get to this stage.
I was too focused on making this happen to get any photos of the process. (Public consumption, good looking circles, etc.) Note that due to the event these are little guys, teaspooners, and there are in fact–
–three trays, but one is less photogenic than the other two.
Post-oven. It’s important to check the bottoms near the end of baking time: these don’t really change color as they bake, so can look less done than they are.
Better than the spam close-up, huh?
Mmm, get out the milk. Cover photot/Pin bait. Also unless you’re in a hurry don’t put these in tupperware until they’re cool. That makes baked goods soggy. So I’m told.
Not pictured: the “spilling out of the cookie jar onto the platter” arrangement one the party host moms came up with. Where us spatially challenged would be without those party host moms, I don’t know.
The Wednesday Woman
(PS: Would like to do a post on the feminism of a movie about average janes doing right by their kingdom because it’s what they do vs a movie about a movie about a sexy chick being driven and defined by her male perpetrated victimization , but then I’d have spend money and time watching the latter movie, and my friend at Precisely What Exists just posted that article about reviewing stuff you haven’t read or watched.
Meanwhile, in the interest of staying relevant to Googlers, MALEFICENT MALEFICENT MALEFICENT)